'Cyrus looked around. "Yeah, but what do we do now?"
Rupert smiled. "A philosopher stood on one leg in the middle of a road, unsure of what to do. 'What is the best and wisest step? Where shall I put my foot?' he asked. A farmer passing with an ox gave him his answer. 'Put it down,' he said. And so the philosopher did, but his other leg rose up. 'Terrible advice!' he yelled. 'My predicament hasn't improved. Where shall I put this foot?' And again, the farmer told him, 'Put it down'."
"And...," said Cyrus.
"And this time when the philosopher put his foot down, he put it squarely in a pile of the ox's dung. Concluding that the farmer was either a trickster or a fool, he left his foot there and never moved again. As for the farmer, he walked on to Rome."
Rupert met Cyrus's eyes and laughed. "Your father loved that one."
Cyrus groaned. "So the joke is that philosophers are stupid and farmers aren't?" He blinked and shook his head, looking around at the rooftop. "Why are we even talking about this right now?"
Rupert grinned. "Two reason, Cyrus Smith. First, the next step is always right in front of you. Pick your feet up and put your feet down. Second, we are most definitely standing in the dung right now. Your first trek starts now, and it's madness. Are you ready?"
Wilson, N.D. (2012) The Drowned Vault, Random House, New York.